Barcelona president Joan Laporta investigated for bribery – reports

Barcelona president Joan Laporta is being investigated for bribery in relation to alleged payments to a former refereeing official, according to Spanish media reports.

It was reported on Wednesday that an ongoing probe into alleged corruption at the club is now looking at a period which includes some of Laporta’s first term at the helm, which ran from 2003-10.

It emerged in March that Spanish prosecutors had filed a complaint following reports that Barcelona had paid more than 7million euros (£6.2million) to companies owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, the former vice-president of the Spanish FA’s refereeing committee, between 2001 and 2018.

The initial focus of the case was on payments made between 2014 and 2018, incorporating the tenures of two other past presidents in Sandro Rosell and Jose Maria Bartomeu.

According to the reports, the period being investigated has now been extended back to 2008, which is the maximum permitted under a 15-year statute of limitations.

Barcelona have been approached for comment by the PA news agency.

The club have previously denied wrongdoing, stating that they had paid an external consultant for “technical reports related to professional refereeing”, saying that was common practice in the game.